Hulu is a premium streaming service that offers subscribers hours of content- both television programming and movies- with limited commercials for $7.99 a month or no commercials for $11.99 a month. Launched in 2008, Hulu has remained a leader in redefining how TV and how it is consumed by loyal viewers. The company boasts nearly 9 million subscribers, over 500 content partners, and 2,000 advertising partners. (2) Hulu recently reached a milestone of 700 million hours of content streamed by subscribers.
Hulu is not a publicly traded company, thus the company’s financial profile is not available in the same detail as that of a company with quarterly SEC filings. Despite this, on October 6th 2015, Hulu published the news that it and Viacom expanded their content partnership in a new multi-year agreement. (4) With this deal, Hulu became the exclusive subscription video on demand (SVOD) home to full seasons of popular series from Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV such as Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City and Finding Carter. These programs are highly popular with adults 18-34 and will attract cord cutters with the accessibility the company provides through online streaming. (5)
The deal also expands Hulu’s catalog of children’s programming. Full older seasons of Nickelodeon shows that have never been available for online streaming on the site are now exclusive to the service. In addition to this, all episodes of 90’s and 00’s era programs like The Wild Thornberrys, Drake and Josh, Hey Arnold and Ren & Stimpy will be available for the first time ever on Hulu. The renewal and expansion of this deal will allow the company to acquire programs that audiences who are ditching cable will be looking to watch elsewhere due to their popularity.
Newly Released Content
To compete with Netflix, Hulu released two original series, Casual and RocketJump: The Show in Q4 of 2015 (6), and brought back cancelled program The Mindy Project. On October 21st, 2015, Casual, which stars Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey and Tara Lynne Barr, was renewed for a second season due to the success of Producer Jason Reitman’s dysfunctional family comedy. (7) The release date of RocketJump, a documentary series about Youtube filmmaker Freddie Wong and the creation of his action-comedy short films, was delayed until December 2nd, 2015. (8) The original series will still likely draw a substantial audience as name recognition will play a large role.
Hulu also revived cult favorite The Mindy Project starring Mindy Kaling, Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz exclusively for its streaming service when it was cancelled by Fox. The company signed on for 26 episodes of the program for its fourth season. With more creative freedom given by Hulu, the show has involved more mature themes and plots, and thus has attracted a wider audience. (10) A.V. Club reviewed the Hulu season premiere entitled “While I Was Sleeping” as an A on its scale, calling the episode “an amazing season opener, her best-ever.” (11)
Earlier this year, Hulu premiered the show Difficult People on August 5th, 2015. The series was created by Julie Klausner who stars alongside Billy Eichner. Eichner’s performance immediately garnered positive attention from critics and the show was given an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 76 on Metacritic. (12) After landing a role on Parks and Recreation due to the success of his popular Youtube series Billy on the Street, the actor’s high energy style became in demand as he was cast on several hit programs, but found the most success with Hulu.
On February 15th, 2016, Hulu will release its highly anticipated series 11/22/63 based on the 2011 best selling novel written by Stephen King and published by Scribner. (13) The thriller, starring James Franco tells the story of a high school english teacher who travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President. John F. Kennedy. The mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, a love interest, and the past’s unwillingness to change itself. (14)
Offline, Hulu will be bringing a popular fan experience to Los Angeles this winter. After its success in New York City, Hulu is resurrecting the Seinfeld: The Apartment exhibit for the show’s L.A. fans. (16) The pop up installation features a replica of Jerry Seinfeld’s Upper West Side apartment, and full gallery experience, as well as new items from the series. The exhibit will be located on 8445 Melrose Ave. and will be open from December 16th- 20th. The popularity of both the installation and the series as a whole is imperative for Hulu’s success in streaming Seinfeld in its entirety on the site. A whole new audience is reached as a result, and old fans are able to relive the series in a new way. (17)
In addition to the new commercial free subscription that Hulu offers, customers are now able to pay an additional fee to get Showtime as a premium add on for $8.99 a month. Now viewers are able to watch award winning programs such as Homeland, The Affair, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and Episodes through the streaming service. (18)
Although this service comes at an extra cost, it will attract millennial viewers as they stray away from more expensive cable packages and move to exclusively online sites such as Hulu and its competitors Netflix and Amazon. (20) Subscribers will be able to take Showtime programs on the go as it is available on Apple devices, Android phones and tablets, Playstation, Wii, and Xbox One.
Overall, Hulu has had a productive year. From introducing a new subscription free of commercials, to receiving rave reviews for its original series, to expanding its agreement with Viacom and partnering with Showtime, the company is quickly amassing both content and loyal subscribers. Unlike Netflix, the site is able to make content available the day after it airs on live television, which attracts cord cutting fans as the service is less expensive and available on more interfaces. With a highly anticipated release coming in the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, Hulu is releasing content at a steady stream that keeps customers invested.
(1) Hulu – Watch TV, Originals, and Hit Movies.” Hulu. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(2) “About Hulu.” About Hulu. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(3) “Executives.” Executives. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(4) “Hulu and Viacom Expand Content Partnership In Robust, New Multi-Year Agreement.” News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(5) “Cord Cutters News – All the News Cord Cutters Need about Cord Cutting! Covering, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Netflix, Hulu, & More!”Cord Cutters News. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(6) “Hulu Originals Premiere Dates.” Premiere Dates. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(7) “Jason Reitman’s ‘Casual’ Gets Season 2 on Hulu.” Variety. N.p., 21 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(8) “‘RocketJump: The Show’ Premiere on Hulu Pushed Back to December.”Variety. N.p., 09 Oct. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(9) “First Look: Lee Pace in The Mindy Project.” GeekyNews. N.p., 06 Jan. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(10) “The Mindy Project Isn’t Cancelled After All, Here’s What’s Happening.”CINEMABLEND. N.p., 15 May 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(11) “The Mindy Project:.” “While I Was Sleeping” · The Mindy Project · TV Review “While I Was Sleeping” · TV Club · The A.V. Club. N.p., 15 Sept. 2015. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(12) “‘Difficult People’ on Hulu: Will Critics’ Raves Lead to Awards for Julie Klausner, Billy Eichner?” GoldDerby. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(13) “11.22.63.” Hulu Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(14) “11.22.63.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(15) “First Look: See James Franco in Stephen King’s Time-travel JFK Assassination Thriller 11/22/63.” Entertainment Weekly. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(16) “Inside the ‘Seinfeld’ Apartment Pop-Up in New York.” The Hollywood Reporter. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(17) “Hulu to Bring SEINFELD: THE APARTMENT Fan Experience to LA This December.” Broadway World. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(18) “Hulu with Showtime.” Hulu. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.
(19) “What Is SHOWTIME® on Hulu?” Hulu. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2015.